I battled librarian-centred power play at another school where I was teaching and leading the Year 7 English teaching team.
A major focus was centred on reading as a daily activity, so we went all out in exploring the uptopian world for bibliophiles…
I was perplexed by the end of the session, kids were dragging their wee feet in despair, telling me that they “weren’t allowed to” check that book out. “It’s too grown up for me..” she sulked, abhorred by such a dressing down.
“Not until you learn to drive,” added Fascist Librarian to my total disbelief.
Sometime in mid-July, I got a text from an English teacher friend at a local high school. She’d just heard, via her principal, that a parent had complained about The Things They Carried, Tim O’Brien’s brilliant short-story collection based in part on his own experiences fighting in Vietnam.
The book was assigned as summer reading for the student’s upcoming AP language and composition class, and the parent—having looked through it—asked for an alternate text. My friend texted to ask for ideas about what she might suggest. I made several recommendations—Walter Dean Myers’ Fallen Angels among them—but the parent rejected all of our candidates and made her own choice, John Hersey’s Hiroshima.
Given that we’re just coming out of Banned Books Week, I’d like to use my Reading Lives moment to address not the dramatic cases of book challenges, like the ongoing battle over The Miseducation of Cameron Post
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